Indian Summer! Blue sky, full lower sun yet cool enough to work comfortably. Remnants of cold morning dew sparkling just out of the tree shade. Bees flying – and hornets who have colonised an unused bee bait box on the old truck. (But hornets are benign enough if you leave them alone.) The smell of damp drying autumnal soil. Wet leaves. No wonder there are even more high spirits than usual this laughing Tuesday. We can’t think of anywhere better to be.
All that poetry doesn’t stop us getting on with the tasks in hand. It encourages us.
First, preparing the garlic bed. Tidy the edges – take out any lurking weeds, rake smooth. Then split the seed garlic, count the cloves and do some maths to make whole rows (can’t abide incomplete rows!). This week we are dibbing in Early Purple Wight and Valleledo varieties – others to plant later. We have Valleledo from two suppliers – UK raised from the Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight (excellent results in previous years) and from Garden Organic – Dutch raised. Don’t ask – but it will be interesting to compare.
Meanwhile we remove all the docks (as if!) from the rest of the this alliums bed for heavy mulching with comfrey and grass cuttings to incorporate next Spring in good time to feed next year’s leeks.
The green manures have romped away in the good weather. The field beans need dealing with before their beneficial energy goes into producing beans rather than into the soil. First take out a wheelbarrow load of large docks, then scythe the whole hundred square metre bed. It takes two of us about five minutes and is immensely, destructively satisfying. We will leave all the debris as a mulch, rotting down over winter to be dug in early in the Spring for next season’s root crops.
The rye grass and vetch on next year’s potato patch is now a good thick cover.
The last of the onion crop get strung up – eight more heavyweight bunches and a boxful of loose ones. These bunches are hung in an airy outhouse as we are at full onion capacity in the vegetable store indoors.
The rabbits or rodents have started taking nibbles out of the beetroot and some of the carrots. They will start on the turnips and swedes next. We have an old chest freezer carcass and some sand in the yard. We have a plan to use that to clamp some of the root veg in the cellar to see if we can circumvent the Winter damage that way.
A quick water in the greenhouse where Winter lettuce seedlings are already poking through from last week’s sowing.
Clean the tools, pack up, enjoy a final sit down and chatty cup of tea, then wander the furlong back to the house with this week’s trophies, still laughing.
If only everything was as much fun as gardening!
Tuesdays in the Triangle Field (Community Supported Market Garden) are busy, sociable, friendly, relaxed, productive. Volunteers are made welcome, fed, watered and rewarded with produce. Let us know if you would like to join us either regularly, occasionally or just for a one-off pleasure.
Tel. 01743 761418 email: firstname.lastname@example.org